Kurth Memorial Library
Public library services in Lufkin date back to 1924 when a group of ladies began the library with a collection of books housed in a former kindergarten classroom. The position of Librarian was filled by Mrs. J. W. Hawkins. Later the Joseph H. Kurth family donated funds to build a new library on Cotton Square which opened on January 1, 1933, with Ora McMullen as the first employed Library Director. Over the years, the building was expanded and renovated multiple times. In the late 1990s a new building was built at the current location on South Raguet Street. Ribbon cutting for this new building was on April 26, 2001.
On October 1, 2000, the library became a department of the City of Lufkin. The City is responsible for staff salaries, utilities, building and grounds maintenance, and day-to-day operational costs. The Library Board is responsible for the purchase of all materials, equipment, furnishings and programming costs.
The library’s collections include juvenile, young adult and adult sections. In addition to fiction, non-fiction and biography collections; there are Spanish language, foreign language, western, large-print, CD, Playaway, DVD, kits, reference, test and magazine collections. A literacy kit collection targets educators and home schoolers.
The library contains a special collection in the Ora McMullen Genealogy Room. It includes state and local history, as well as genealogy records for several East Texas communities. This room contains about 14,000 volumes, 2,000 reels of microfilm, 25,000 microfiche, as well as maps, pictures and vertical files.
The library has 5 catalog computers and 28 internet access computers for public use, including 8 for genealogy research and 6 for juvenile patrons. There are 3 game computers in the juvenile section, as well as a learning and play center. There are several study rooms available.
Current library programming includes: weekly story time, bilingual programming, adult and senior programming, teen programming, family movie times, adult book club, computer and technology classes, juvenile and senior outreach programs, a 10-week Family Summer Reading Program, as well as special community programming and events.
In 2010 the Library Board of Trustees charged the current Library Director, Lorraine Simoneau, with designing and implementing an aggressive collection development plan. Library staff have worked over the last several years to improve the content and age of the collections. As a result, the median age of the collections has risen from 31 years to 12 years. Library holdings have expanded from about 70,000 items to more than 110,000 items. An e-book collection was added in 2012 and use has grown steadily.
Throughout its history, Kurth Memorial Library leadership has worked to provide the Lufkin community with excellent library services. Those individuals include: Mrs. J. W. Hawkins, Mrs. Ora McMullen, Johnie McCall, Lillian Rutherford, Jimmie Fisher, Elizabeth Hartmen, Helen Mills, Ryan Alsworth, Joycelyn Clare, Terri Boomer, Sue Randleman and the current Director, Lorraine Simoneau. In 2010 a second professional Librarian position, Assistant Director, was added and is currently filled by Julie Massey. In addition to its leadership, the dedicated staff of Kurth Memorial Library provide friendly and helpful service to the community of Lufkin.